Oman Nears ‘Sin Tax’ Startup

Oman will join its GCC peers on 15 June in levying excise taxes on a number of selected goods deemed to be ‘harmful’ to health and the environment. Tobacco, energy drinks, alcohol and pork products will all be taxed at 100%, with a 50% levy on carbonated soft drinks. The government reckons the ‘sin tax’ will raise OR100mn ($260mn), a small but badly-needed move towards diversifying revenues away from oil and gas. In reality (as is often the case with such taxes) it is unclear whether the law’s main aim is to boost revenues or curb consumption. Either way, the tax is unlikely to put a dent in the Sultanate’s perennial deficits ( MEES, 4 January ). (CONTINUED - 227 WORDS)